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Last Updated:  Monday, 24 March, 2003, 14:05 GMT
Indian rebels target US cola
Omer Farooq
BBC correspondent in Hyderabad

Left-wing rebels in southern India have attacked shops selling Coca Cola and Pepsi as a mark of protest against the US-led war on Iraq.

Coca Cola and Pepsi
Coke and Pepsi are seen as symbols of the US
A Pepsi warehouse has also been bombed in a similar attack, police say, all of which took place in the state of Andhra Pradesh.

Police have blamed armed rebels of the outlawed People's War Group (PWG) for the attacks.

They came as more than one hundred Indians returned to Andhra Pradesh from the Gulf following the outbreak of war.

Police in Andhra Pradesh's Anantapur district say no one was hurt in the attack on the Pepsi warehouse.

They said rebels used buckets full of gelatin and pipe bombs to blast the building.

Before triggering the blast the rebels ordered the five staff members to leave the warehouse.

The building was said to have suffered extensive damage and a huge stock of the cola was destroyed.

The owner of the warehouse said the damage was estimated to be worth more than $20,000.

Police said the rebels left a note at the scene of the blast which said the action was in protest against the American-led attack on Iraq.

The note also demanded immediate withdrawal of US forces from the Gulf.

Shops targeted

In similar incidents, rebels attacked shops selling Coca Cola in Yerragundapalem and Hanuman Junction villages of Prakasham district.

An unspecified stock of the soft drink was destroyed in the attacks. Police said the rebels handed over a letter to one of the shopkeepers before fleeing.

The letter, which was addressed to the US President, George W Bush, strongly condemned the war.

The letter said Mr Bush was responsible for the killing innocent people for the sake of oil.

The PWG also criticised the Indian Government for not strongly condemning what it called imperialist policies of the US and other countries.

It called for a ban on US and British companies from investing in India.

The group also pasted posters in areas of its influence in the state asking people to oppose the war.

In late 2001, the PWG targeted the multi-national soft drink companies in the state to condemn the US invasion of Afghanistan.

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